Blue Jar – Cheese Foodscape Commercials

Commissioned by TBWA in Saudi Arabia for their client Blue Jar, Carl Warner the photographer famed for his inventive use of food in his photography was asked to use his unique style to advertise the Blue Jar cheese product. Shot with a Canon 5D MarkII on a motion control rig in Islington’s Cross Street Studio, we used a combination of shooting techniques to achieve the final result. The Canon DSLR was hung upside down to get as close to the set as possible and was taking frames in raw mode. The stop-frame / go-motion technique took about 20 minutes to shoot 5 seconds of footage, so we shot the moves in reverse to help make the food and vegetables perk up rather than droop under the lights. The sequence of frames were massive 4k files which we transferred to a mobile workstation rough composited them and played the sequences back to check everything worked well. Each layer was shot as a separate pass to keep the focal distance as far as possible and allow more flexibility in post later, this helped make the scale of the landscape look bigger than it really was. Once we had shot all the stop-frame pass sequences for a particular shot we then needed to shoot the river of cheese and erupting volcano passes as live action moves. This meant using the same camera move of course, to match the shots together later, but required us to shoot in video mode at 1080p 30fps. Once we had the live action passes, the difficult task of matching the much smaller HD footage into the 4k file sequences began, this entailed changing the frame rate of the live action to match the 25fps stop-frame and very careful resizing and realignment. We used a Mitchell 35mm camera with macro lens at 100fps for the packshot material at the end of the commercials to make the product as smooth and beautiful as possible. Once all the shots were in the bag we took the huge amount of frames (about 2.5TB worth) and converted them all into 2k 16bit tiff files to make them easier to wield in the compositing phase, but still allow a wide gamut and colour bit depth. We worked in 16bit mode all the way through the post stages, first editing the sequences in Premiere Pro, before final compositing and grading in After Effects. Many of the shots consisted of over 20 layers to achieve the scale and depth of the final result. There was also extensive re-timing and timewarping, in particular, on the cheese elements to assist in making it look thicker and smoother. We also shot some steam and smoke on 35mm at 100fps for the volcano, and some separate hills to composite far into the distance. The sky was also composited into all the shots, and tracked to markers set up on the poly boards in the set.

Check out the timelapse video above of the full 5 days of shooting condensed into 43 seconds

Client: TBWA\RAAD / Rokkit

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